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#11 Alabama @ #9 MSU

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by -4-, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. -4-

    -4- Walk On

    May 25, 2011
    Hanging on for Dear Life
    Spartans hold off furious Crimson Tide comeback to win opener.

    With an early season non-conference showdown between two evenly matched teams, Week one’s battle between #11 Alabama and #9 Michigan State was bound to go down to the wire. Despite an impressive offensive performance by MSU, the game did just that as the Spartans survived a late comeback bid by the Tide to hang on for a 31-28 season opening win.

    The first three and a half quarters of the game were all MSU, as the Spartans jumped out to a big lead. The Spartans struck first, as on their second drive of the game (after an interception in Tide territory on their opening drive) David Williams connected with tight end Zach Jackson for a 15–yard touchdown.

    The MSU defense was quite impressive in the first half, only allowing Alabama to threaten once in the half. And after forcing a punt, the Spartans took a 14-0 lead when Brian Wilson took a toss play 24-yards untouched for the touchdown.

    But, with half coming to a close the Tide finally struck paydirt after being bottled up entirely prior. Quarterback Sam Keyes hooked up with tight end Scott McDonald, cutting the Spartan lead in half with a 25-yard touchdown.

    But, although the half was coming to a close, MSU wasn’t ready to pack it in just yet. The Spartans ran the one-minute offense to perfection, scoring just before the end of the half as David Williams hooked up with Anthony Anderson in the back of the end zone for a 13–yard score.

    The Spartans came out of the locker room and continued their romp, taking a three score lead midway through the third with another touchdown from Williams to Anderson, this time from 18 yards out.

    But, the Tide wouldn’t give up. Sparked by the play of QB Sam Keyes, the Tide began a furious comeback. Alabama cut the lead to 28-14 late in the third as Keyes hooked up with a wide open Travis Hoffman, who then took it in a 72-yard score through the air.

    With the time ticking away, MSU went conservative. But, this decision came back to bite them hard as the Spartans quickly gave the ball back to Alabama. The Tide went right back to work and cut the lead to seven quickly as Danny East punched it in from four yards out to cap off an impressive drive.

    The Spartans went back to an aggressive gameplan offensively, and were back to their old ways of moving the ball. But, the Crimson Tide stepped up when they had to, holding MSU out of the end zone on three straight plays from inside the five-yard line. The Spartans took the points, as kicker Damien Robertson chipped in a 19-yard field goal to give MSU a 31-21 lead late.

    The Tide continued to pick apart the MSU defense, torching them through the air. With just under a minute left, things got a little too close for comfort as the Tide scored another touchdown to cut the lead to 31-28. But, the comeback bid was a little too late as the Spartans then recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.

    While the defense proved shaky in the clutch, three Spartan offensive standouts had outstanding games. David Williams (18/27 for 327 yards and three TDs) and Brian Wilson (27 rushes, 146 yards, TD) both showed why they were anticipated to have huge years this season. But, the performance of the day went to an unexpected star. Senior wideout Anthony Anderson had a humongous day catching the ball, making 9 grabs for 218 yards and two touchdowns, proving that David Williams might actually have a go-to target this season after the dismal effort by the wide receiving corps last year.

    "Anthony really put in some work during the offseason, and has really improved. It just shows what dedication can do. Also, getting Damien (Robertson) to focus on kicking rather than being our backup quarterback has improved our kicking game dramatically this season. He's probably improved his range as our punter, placekicker, and field goal kicker by about 10 yards." Coach Bass told the media following the win.

    The win is a great way to start off the 2016 campaign for MSU, but the defense will need to tighten up to its 2015 form if the Spartans want to compete with the Big Ten powers. Next week the Spartans host the top-fifteen Oklahoma Sooners in another tough non-conference match-up.

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